Cabinet Meeting Minutes, September 24, 1947. Matthew J. Connelly Papers - Notes on Cabinet Meetings II.
CABINET MEETING, WED., SEPTEMBER 24, 1947 3:00 p.m.
Asked Anderson chairman of Food Committee to tell Cabinet European food requirements.
Need additional savings of food in U. S. either voluntary or compulsory. To avoid rising costs of wheat grain corn etc - the dept should spread out to purchase of fruit potatoes sugar sweet potatoes - thereby keeping grain prices down rather than set out definite requirements for wheat which would bring about skyrocketing grain prices. Later ease into wheat purchases. Does not think Pres should say eat less food. Let Committee if necessary make such a recommendation to the President. At this time a strong program of voluntary cooperation should be encouraged. Later if necessary Congress might be asked for legislation in the event of failure of voluntary cooperation.
France - Italy - in terrible shape. We do not have available in this country funds required to provide food and fuel for these two countries now needed. We may get them last quarter of this year but certainly not until March or through the winter to prevent starvation and illness. Need 17 million tons of cereals to feed Europe this year. This needs to be considered in relation to price rises in U. S. The two are interlocked. We must give thought to spreading spiral of price increases in other commodities caused by these needs for Europe.
We are setting up Citizens Food Committee to study situation. Has also called meeting of Congressional leaders for Monday - at 10:00 AM - to discuss situation - to be attended by Secty of State and Secty of Agriculture.
Asked if Pres is to call a special session of Congress.
Will not decide that until after meeting with Congressional leaders.
Voluntary approach will not work. People will stockpile. Prices will go up. Demands will go up. People will resent taking from them to give to Europe.
Everyone he has consulted with agrees that we have to start with voluntary program - millers - bakers - Business Advisory Committee of Commerce Dept. Committee of 19 studying the situation has strongly supported the voluntary cooperation plan to begin with.
No announcement of a voluntary campaign should be made until a bi-partisan recommendation by Committee is made to President.
(2) Hopes that a special session is not called.
Republicans said all you have to do to get cooperation is ask American people. We now have the opportunity to ask the American people and see what they will do. If they fail - then and only then can we ask Congress to impose controls.
Asked for opportunity to be consulted in order to get behind program and work with labor groups. Dept. of Labor can be very helpful in building up support of labor. Only extreme left wing groups will oppose.
Wanted Cabinet to know what situation is - We have a job to do - and it is an emergency we must meet right now.
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